Orthodox & Pork

Pork may not be consumed in Orthodox Judaism, Islam and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
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The consumption of pork in any form is forbidden by several Orthodox religions, including Judaism, the Seventh-Day Adventists, Islam and the Ethiopian Orthodox church. For followers, the pig is considered to be an "unclean" animal. This classification for "uncleanliness" is based on the pig's outward appearance and behaviors.

1 Kosher Laws

In Judaism, the restriction against eating pork is outlined in dietary laws known as the "kosher" laws. According to kosher laws, any animal that has both cloven hoofs and chews cud is kosher, but an animal with only one of these properties and not the other is considered to be non-kosher. Because pigs do not chew cud, they are not kosher.

2 Halal Laws

In Islam, food that is deemed fit for consumption is termed "halal." According to the halal laws, pigs are forbidden outright. This has caused problems among Orthodox Muslims in terms of their consumption of the product gelatin, which is sometimes made from pork skin. The Orthodox community refuses to classify gelatin, or any foods in which gelatin is used, as halal.

3 Other Orthodox Restrictions

Both Orthodox Seventh-Day Adventists and the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church forbid their followers from eating pork. This restriction is taken from a passage in the Old Testament of the Bible on which Jewish kosher laws are based. The Seventh-Day Adventists believe that the Old Testament is the best representation of God's dietary plan for humans while the Ethiopian Orthodox diet is heavily influenced by Islamic tradition.

4 Exceptions

Non-Orthodox members of Judaism occasionally may eat pork-related products, even if they abstain from eating pork directly. Conservative and Reform rabbis have considered gelatin, which is sometimes made from pork products, to be kosher. The reasoning behind this is that gelatin goes through a production process where it becomes inedible to both humans and dogs, therefore transforming it from a food into an item that does not fall under Kosher rules.

Julia Lai is a frequent contributor to Los Angeles-based arts and literature publications. She graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in history and has been writing professionally since 2008.